Continuing with Pastor David Niednagel’s study in 1 Peter. David uses the S.O.A.P method for his morning devotional study (study, observe, apply pray)
By His wounds we have been healed
1 Peter 2:24-25
2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” ESV
The context is following Christ’s example of unjust suffering – not with anger or threats, but entrusting Himself to the Father, knowing that God is just. He will deal appropriately with all sinners. Some are shown mercy and saved, like Peter and Paul, and every other person that has ever been born again. Jesus “bore our sins in His body on the tree”. The others who have not put their trust in Christ as their substitute will face the wrath of God on their own. A terrible thought!
Peter quotes Isa 53:4-5 that Jesus bore our sins in His body, and that “by His wounds you have been healed”. There has been much debate about this verse. Does this mean that “there is healing in the atonement”? That we can claim physical healings for our illnesses because it is a promise from God’s Word? In Matt 8:17, after Jesus healed many people, Matthew said “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” He used this passage in Isaiah to teach that Jesus as the Messiah had the ability to heal physically. He certainly did, and certainly does.
However, the context of Isa 53 is of spiritual healing from iniquities, transgressions, etc, and I think that is Peter’s primary intent as well. He is not thinking about physical healing here, but he says as born again people, we have a new nature and have been healed from the natural sinful response of returning evil for evil. We have “died to sin, and live to righteousness”. Jesus gives us a new capacity to follow Him without “straying like sheep”, but we can now “return to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
Lord Jesus, I thank You that You healed thousands of people of illnesses, and I pray for faith when I pray for people around me that need Your physical healing. But I thank You even more for the hundreds of millions that You have healed from sin, and from straying like sheep. Thank You for the capacity to rest in You and trust You when we suffer – especially when we suffer unjustly. Thank You that You took the judgment for our sin, and that we can trust You to give either justice or mercy to everyone else. Help me not walk in the old ways of resentment when others hurt me, but to trust You and return blessing for cursing. And increase my burden to call people to return to You, “the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls.” Amen